On December 2nd, 2022, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Sean Fraser, announced Canada’s intention of expanding IRCC’s open work permit eligibility criteria for spouses and dependent children of principal applicants who have been approved to come to Canada through various temporary programs.

Earlier this month, IRCC announced the changes to eligibility to work in Canada as spouses, common-law partners, and dependent children of work permit holders. Prior to these changes, dependent children were not eligible to apply for an open work permit on account of their parent’s temporary status, and spouses and common-law partners could only apply for an open work permit if the principal applicant was employed in a high-skilled occupation. However, starting on January 30, 2023, applicants may be eligible for an open work permit if they are a

  • spouse, common-law partner or dependent child of a work permit holder who
    • works in a job of any Training, Education, Experience and Responsibilities (TEER) category (0 to 5), or
    • is the principal applicant and has an open work permit (example: post-graduation work permit holders at all skill levels)
    • has a work permit/authorization to work with a validity period of a minimum of 6 months
  • spouse, common-law partner, or dependent child of an economic class permanent resident applicant who holds a work permit that is valid for a minimum period of 6 months

It must be noted that spouses and dependents of workers in a TEER 4 or 5 job under the low-wage stream of the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program and the Agricultural Stream of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program are not eligible for an open work permit at this time.

To learn more about your eligibility to apply for an open work permit, contact us for a consultation.


  • Valerie Kleinman

    Valerie Kleinman is a Senior Associate at Green and Spiegel LLP in Toronto who specializes in Citizenship and Immigration law.

  • Nika Arbabzadeh

    Nika Arbabzadeh is an Articling Student at Green and Spiegel LLP in Toronto. Nika assists clients with all aspects of immigration law in Canada. Nika is particularly interested in litigation and the intersection of immigration law with other areas and issues, including criminal law.

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